Archives for posts with tag: action plan


I must admit that I ummed and ahhed about posting this entry. For a start, I’m still in pretty deep denial about it already being September, and the fact that the new academic year is about to begin; and, for another thing, I’ve touched on my approach to resolutions and goal-setting before in this blog, and I was conscious that I could be about to repeat or, maybe, entirely contradict that post. But, actually, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about my New (academic) Year’s resolutions, and, from talking to other colleagues and researchers, I’m not alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Being a researcher at the University of Sheffield means that you have a whole host of development opportunities at your fingertips. There’s so much on offer that you could probably spend a couple of days every week attending workshops, events, participating in online training etc. and not tackle the same thing twice. So how do you go about choosing which development event is right for you?

PaniniTo avoid a situation where you start to collect development events like you would panini stickers (got, got, NEED!), it’s always handy to take a step back and reflect on your current strengths and areas for development. There are plenty of tools and resources to support you with this, such as the Researcher Development Framework, which identifies the behaviours and attributes of successful researchers and enables you to recognise your existing skills and set realistic goals for your own development.

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You may have read a recent post by my colleague, Bryony, which introduced the Thirty30 Staff Development Festival at The University of Sheffield. Well, we’re now in November and the festival is well underway, with lots of activity taking place around campus (have you checked out the Lego Lunches and the Active Learning Sets?) and the hashtag #myThirty30 seemingly a major fixture on our twitter timeline.

One of the ideas behind Thirty30 is that “development is everywhere”. I was thinking about this in the build up to the festival as my role is to support Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Researchers with their professional development but, if I’m honest, I rarely take time to attend development events myself. I can feel a bit of a fraud advocating to others to take the time out to invest in themselves when I don’t really do that as much as I should. Read the rest of this entry »

This is a guest post from Ciara Kelly, a Doctoral Researcher in the Institute of Work Psychology


As researchers our job demands that we maintain focus on our long-term outputs despite few meaningful milestones.

This can present challenges to the best of us, and the following scenarios (or some variation thereof) may be familiar to you:

Scenario 1: The cursor blinks accusingly. You nibble on your third Anxiety Muffin of the day. You’ve exhausted the entire internet of cat pictures and you have 3 tutorials to teach this afternoon. The Word document open in front of you boasts 17 words. They are some damn fine words, obviously, but you concede that the editors of *insert your favourite journal here* might possibly want a little more. The answer to your problem is clear. Muffin number four. Read the rest of this entry »

1024px-Narcissus-closeupI’ve never been a big one for new year’s resolutions. January is dark, the sparkly Christmas lights have been banished to the loft for another year and the only thing on the horizon is February. Ugh. The only inspiration the new year gives me is to hibernate. Spring, though? Read the rest of this entry »

Roughly every 9 weeks it’s my turn to contribute to this blog and, if I’m honest, it fills me with dread.  I know loads of people who want to share information they have learnt with others, highlight interesting articles, tell the world about their research, yet when I sit here, ready to write, I just get…nothing.   So, this time I’ve decided to consider why I find blogging incredibly difficult.  After all, understanding the problem means I’m part way to conquering it, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Guest post by Dr Laura Smith, BBSRC-funded postdoctoral researcher, Dept. of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology.

new-bbsrc-colourThe BBSRC has released a new ‘Vision for Post-doctoral Researchers’. It’s a sort-of mission statement on how it expects their post-doc researchers to be supported by their host institution and how post-docs should engage in activities to aid in their professional development. It has made for interesting reading, and as a BBSRC funded post-doc, has highlighted some elements I feel I should work on, as well as things that my department could do to help my career development. Read the rest of this entry »

This post is written in reflection after reading a recent paper in Studies in Higher Education (Hancock & Walsh, 2014)

Do you know what the ‘knowledge economy’ is? It’s the idea of viewing expertise, skills, and knowledge as an asset with a tangible value, like, it’s a currency that is export/importable and transferable across the UK and the wider global economy.

pipesSo how does it work, how do we transmit the skills and knowledge the nation needs to where it’s needed? Well, thanks to the recommendations of the Roberts’ review, we create highly skilled boundary-pushing subject experts within university PhD programmes, and train them to be good at both realising how ace they are, and communicating why and how they do what they do to others. So when they graduate they take that knowledge, and those skills, and apply it in other sectors, into business, into industry, into wherever the demand for experienced really smart people arises.

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keep calmI’m regularly asked (often by researchers just starting a PhD or their 1st postdoc), “what training and development activities should I sign up for?” They are often overwhelmed by the mind blowing amount of workshops, schemes and seminars that are on offer. It is true that a researcher could spend more time attending workshops than actually doing their research. As important as it is to spend time on career development activities, the one thing you don’t want to do is to become a serial workshop booker, enrolling onto everything you see advertised. As managers of training programmes we often come across individuals who sign up for every single workshop we advertise (I’ve even come across people attending the exact same workshop more than once in a year). As flattering as it is that they want to attend all we provide, this really isn’t the most effective use of your time.

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